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The dwarf planet Pluto is one dark and icy rock, floating on the edges of our planetary system, like a lone pebble on a windswept beach at night. It is smaller than our own Moon, and so distant that the sunlight which reaches us within eight minutes doesn’t touch Pluto until a full five hours later. Yet Pluto’s powerful effect as a catalyst for worldly change is akin to splitting the tiny atom and producing a massive nuclear explosion. And it’s about to rock our world, as it moves into the corporate sign of Capricorn from January 25, 2008.

Capricorn governs the wheels that turn our society—its administration, pillars, traditions and institutions. Pluto refers to custom and convention, only to challenge and change it. The archetypal resonance of Pluto is one of cathartic and evolutionary transformation. Pluto’s mythological associations with death and rebirth define the principle that breakdown and decay are an essential part of the ongoing life process.

Rome at the Crossroads

When Pluto moved through Capricorn from the first century 42 AD, St. Paul had experienced his own “plutonic transformation” on the road to Damascus. It set him on a new path of missionary zeal. Meanwhile the Romans at the height of their empire began building Londinium. But their pagan gods were about to fall. Over the next millennium the face of Europe changed under the new banner of the cross. Each time Pluto accessed Capricorn the rate of Christian influence multiplied.

Christianity was a perfect vehicle for Pluto. Here was a religion whose foundations were built on death and resurrection. Jesus taught the resurrection as a Doctrine of Rebirth. One must be willing to die to their former selves to access the true kingdom of heaven. And the martyrdom of the early saints was a physical embodiment of the same principle.

The Roman hierarchy’s suppression of the seeds of change greatly empowered the process. During Pluto’s return to Capricorn in 287 AD, Emperor Diocletian, presiding over a then divided empire, instituted mass Christian executions to stem the religious tide. These mass killings were famous for their failure, and during the same period Constantine the Great was declared the new Emperor. Constantine’s baptism into the new faith would elevate Christianity to the religion of the state, and assist him to reunite the empire.

From Spirit to Form

The following entry of Pluto into Capricorn witnessed the material phase—temple building. It came in the form of the grandiose reconstruction of the most famous church outside the Vatican—the magnificent Hagia Sophia of Byzantium. Dedicating the new building, (which utilized columns from the wondrous Temple of Artemis), Emperor Justinian declared, “Solomon I have exceeded thee.” By Pluto’s fourth and final cycle of the first millennium the devout Frankish King Charlemagne had subjugated the Saxons to Catholicism, in establishing his vast European Empire. The religion and the state were now united across the majority of mediaeval Europe and Eurasia.

The universal church had grown from the true believers to an institution, with its attendant hierarchal corruptions. In doing so it had inadvertently made itself a target for Pluto’s major charter of Reformation midway through the following millennium. On 31 October 1517, with Pluto back in Capricorn, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. It led to a new divided Christianity rising like a Phoenix from the old.

New World Visions

Pluto in Capricorn, so often ruthless in application, always takes humankind on a journey of discovery, forever changing the cultural mix. It marked the original Viking cross-pollination of England, and long-ship conquests. It pinpointed the years of Marco Polo paving the famous Silk Road connecting Occident to Orient. It signalled Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. Each time our worldview got bigger, yet ironically smaller simultaneously.

In ruthless mode, Pluto is like a being in the inescapable grip of a remorseless hand of fate, whose imprint always reminds us that resistance is useless. This was evidenced with Cortez and the Spanish conquistadors and the cultural genocide of the Aztec civilization, or the capitulation of the Incas. It signalled Captain James Cook claiming the “great south land” for British colonization. And today, more than ever, indigenous cultures are the unwilling, outmoded victims of economic and technological globalization. In dealing with what seems like inevitabilities, a painless transition may be the wisest, albeit historically unlikely, answer.

Manifestation of a New World Vision

Prior to Pluto’s entry into Capricorn, it begins to change philosophical ideals and worldviews during the Sagittarian phase. It then institutes those new beliefs at some point, usually fairly early, into the Capricorn stopover. For example, Christ’s mission, (according to all historical evidence) began during the fiery Sagittarian chapter, yet its societal grounding occurred during the earthy Capricorn period. We must look at the emergent ideas and philosophies from 1995 onward to get a good overview on the changing forces of the next sixteen years.

Witness the recent rise of religious fundamentalism worldwide, especially within Christian and Islam sects. The division of the major religions was evidenced in the Taliban’s destruction of the two towering Bamiyan Buddhas, an ancient religious and cultural icon, and mirrored by the annihilation of the Twin Towers, a modern financial and political one—as Pluto opposed Gemini the sign of the Twins. This ideological extremism, a feature of Pluto in Sagittarius, will play out politically as Pluto moves through Capricorn.

A different kind of voluntary martyr, the suicide bomber has emerged. Terrorism as a political weapon is the radical dark side of Pluto. Yet it may be totally defeating the purpose! Isn’t the real blood of these martyrs that of their innocent victims? Change, like that of Rome, happens from within, preferably without confrontation. Dismantling the terrorist threat by going to the root cause will be the political challenge as Pluto travels through Capricorn. S

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